The winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 competition have been announced, showcasing the most gorgeous, bizarre, or exceptional photographs of creatures and their habitats around the world, from the icy plateaus of Tibet to the grimy streets of Manhattan.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year, developed and produced by London's Natural History Museum, is now in its 55th year. This year's competition attracted over 48,000 entries from both professionals and amateurs across 100 countries. Winners are selected from 19 categories, each representing a different facet of nature or wildlife photography, including “Wildlife Photojournalism,” “Urban Wildlife,” and “Under Water.”
This year’s top prize, the Grand Title Winner, was snatched by Yongqing Bao for his photograph of a decisive moment between a Tibetan fox and a marmot caught in an awkward altercation on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau (above). The image was picked for its humorous clash of anthropomorphic drama and raw natural intensity. Little is known about this species of Tibetan foxes (Vulpes ferrilata) because they live in the remote and desperately cold plateaus of Nepal, China, India, and Bhutan, so to capture a photograph of one with such clarity and drama is quite the achievement.
“Images from the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are rare enough, but to have captured such a powerful interaction between a Tibetan fox and a marmot – two species key to the ecology of this high-grassland region – is extraordinary,” Roz Kidman Cox, Chair of the judging panel, explained in an emailed press release.
“This compelling picture captures nature’s ultimate challenge – it's battle for survival," said Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon.
The award for Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year was handed to 14-year-old Cruz Erdmann for his stunning image (below) of a bigfin reef squid (Sepioteuthis lessoniana) in the Lembeh Strait off North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The squid was spotted by Cruz during a night dive, appearing to engage in courtship behavior with a member of the opposite sex. Just as they were putting on their flashing display of shifting colors and patterns, one of the pair quickly scooted off, allowing Cruz to capture the sole cephalopod in all its iridescent beauty.
“To dive in the pitch dark, find this beautiful squid and to be able to photograph it so elegantly, to reveal its wonderful shapes and colours, takes so much skill. What a resounding achievement for such a young photographer," commented Theo Bosboom, nature photographer and member of the judging panel.
Perhaps most incredible of all, he told those of us at the exhibition preview that this was the first time he'd ever seen a live squid!
You can check out a selection of the winning images below and visit the full gallery, at London's Natural History Museum, where the exhibition will be on until May 2020. You can also vote for your own favorite in the LUMIX People's Choice Awards, just make sure to get your vote in by February 4, 2020.
You can also check out last year’s winners here.